Jorge Colalongo: “Vacuum cooking is one of my favourites, making a good wood fire and cooking with it”.
We talked to Jorge Colalongo, chef of our gourmet restaurant La Despensa del Barón. Argentinian by birth, he has more than 20 years of experience and a great knowledge of local produce. He has worked in such well-known places such as Menú Catering, El Portixol, Puro Hotel and Rialto Living. Chef Jorge Colalongo tells us what inspires him in his culinary creations, his cooking techniques and much more.
What made you want to become a chef?
When I was a child, I spent most of the day with my grandmothers in the kitchen, I liked to watch them cook and I helped them.
What is the first dish you can remember inspiring you?
Ufff, there are many, homemade pasta, empanadas, watching my father prepare a roast.
Who has influenced your cooking style or philosophy?
My grandmothers, my travels, seeing how people cook in other places.
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I really like to go to the markets, see the products there and my imagination flies thinking about what I can do with them.
What is your favourite culinary technique?
Vacuum cooking has been one of my favourites lately, making a good wood fire and cooking with it.
What is your favourite ingredient?
In principle all of them, I like to make the most of seasonal products.
What is your favourite kitchen utensil?
A sharp knife.
What material do you prefer in your pans and pots?
Iron, silver-plated copper.
What would you like to change in cookery schools?
I’d like them to be frank with the boys and girls who dream of becoming chefs, it’s a very hard and long road, you never finish learning.
Your advice to young chefs
If they are passionate about what they do, go for it, be humble and always learn.
What do you look for when you hire staff for your restaurant?
People who like what they do, with a desire to learn.
How do you motivate your team?
Inspiring them, encouraging them to achieve their goals.
What would you like to change in the restaurant industry?
Fortunately, the industry is changing, and many companies are already taking good care of their staff, especially when it comes to working hours.
How do you cope when you have awkward guests?
Being patient, attending to their needs and trying to understand them.
What is your favourite way to unwind?
A good glass of wine, doing sport, my family.
What drives you to continue to achieve success?
My family, without a doubt.
Which of your dishes are you most proud of?
All of them, I always put the finishing touches to all my dishes.
What is your favourite restaurant?
Lately the Bandarra, there is a great friend and cook there, Igor Rodríguez Sanz.
Which current chef do you most admire and why?
There are more than one, Nobu, Dani García, Andoni Aduriz, Ferran Adria, great chefs who have shown me the way forward.
How do you think restaurants should be classified?
As I like it or I don’t like it.